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Istanbul

Istanbul

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Istanbul – The Beautiful Hagia Sophia of Istanbul and Why You Should Visit ?

The glorious Hagia Sophia of Istanbul – Turkey. The former church, Ottoman Mosque, official museum and now mosque again has saintly ambiences combined with Islamic and Byzantine architecture. Sitting in Istanbul’s old city part known as Sultanahmet, Hagia Sophia joins other nearby landmarks belonging to Turkey’s UNESCO World Heritage list.

The large dome, Christian frescoes and Islamic – Ottoman calligraphy hanging from upper galleries portray the history of 3 cities; Istanbul, Constantinople, and Byzantium. I cannot criticize Hagia Sophia in any manner, and long queues to get in, do not deter me from singing its praises. How can this man-made construction evoke so much respect?

When constructed, everyone agreed the building was an architectural marvel. Although Hagia Sophia isn’t one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, its influence impacted architectural styles for many years. Such was the grand interior and exterior facades; the blue mosque of Istanbul was built to outshine the fame.

The ancient Hagia Sophia we see today in Istanbul is not the original building. Emperor Constantine, the Great of the Byzantine Empire, first built Hagia Sophia in 360AD. Unfortunately, fire in 404AD destroyed the roof and then another fire; ten years later destroyed the rest. So, Roman Emperor Justinian completely rebuilt the Hagia Sophia. Ten thousand workers completed the project in just five years, with primitive tools compared to today’s construction machinery. In addition, they did not use any scaffolding either. Emperor Justinian was clever, though. He separated workers into two groups and promised bonuses for those who quickly completed their work.

Bad luck would knock once again, though. One hundred and seventeen years later, Hagia Sophia was destroyed in Istanbul’s Nicaea Riots. After being rebuilt, the landmark suffered minor damage over hundreds of years. During the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror converted Hagia Sophia into an imperial mosque. However, when Murad the third reigned, wear and tear caused certain parts to collapse. So, Mimar Sinan, the Ottoman empire’s greatest architect, stepped in. He added side walls buttresses, making the landmark structurally sound. Such was the beauty of this building; every Ottoman sultan left their mark like adding Turkish calligraphy art.

The Ottoman-empire reign lasted for hundreds of years; hence many sultans are buried around Istanbul in tombs. One such place is Hagia Sophia. Ottoman Selim, the second’s tomb, sits within an octagonal mausoleum site. The tomb of Mehmed, the 3rd who killed his brothers to stop them from overthrowing him, includes two domes and, once again, an octagonal layout. Other tombs include Murad the 3rd, his daughter and four sons. Lastly, other tombs include Ibrahim and Sultan Mustafa the 1st.

In 1935, the famed landmark became an official Istanbul Museum. Then in 2020, the Turkish government reverted Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque.

The treasure of the Turkish motherland, the wealth of Turkish history, the Turkish nation’s apple of the eye, Istanbul is the city that has a special place in the hearts of all citizens.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
1st President of Turkey

Top landmarks that you should visit

Admire The Hagia Sophia

Explore The Topkapı Palace

Visit The Blue Mosque

Head Underground at The Basilica Cistern

Shop in The Grand Bazaar

Climb up to Galata Tower

Make a Boat Trip in Bosphorus

Stroll Istiklal Street and Taksim

Explore the Asian Side

Visit the Beylerbeyi Palace

See the Sunset on Bosphorus

Taste the Delicious Turkish Food





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